Microsoft says it will take heat if Copilot AI business users are sued

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Microsoft is telling customers that they will accept legal liability if they are sued for copyright infringement while using the company’s AI Copilot service.

In a blog post about the initiative called Copilot Copyright Commitment, Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said the company would take heat for any potential legal risk as more copyright holders question how AI companies handle protected works. Microsoft said the policy is an extension of its overall AI customer commitment announced earlier this year.

Microsoft said it chose this path for three reasons: it wants to stand behind customers using its services; It understands the concerns of copyright holders; And guardrails are built against the possibility of infringing effects on copyrighted material.

“If a third party sues a commercial customer for copyright infringement for using Microsoft’s Copilots or the output they generate, we will defend the customer and pay any adverse judgment or settlement resulting from the lawsuit, so long as the customer uses Railings and content filters,” Smith wrote.

Smith indicated that one of the reasons for the partnership was to deal with uncertainty in copyright law without turning people away from generative AI services. “It’s important that authors maintain control of their rights under copyright law and receive a healthy return on their creations,” Smith wrote, “but we must ensure that the material needed to train and ground AI models does not fall into disarray.” of one or a few firms which reduces competition and innovation. Some companies have come up with the idea of ​​opting for licenses and permissions as a way for AI projects to access data and not infringe on intellectual property rights.

Microsoft launched a series of generative AI services branded Copilot that have since been integrated into many Microsoft products. Starting in June 2022 with GitHub Copilot, which lets people write code, Copilot is now in Windows 11, the Edge browser, Teams, Outlook, and Microsoft’s other enterprise offerings. That includes services like Bing Chat Enterprise, but non-business users of free AI-powered services like Bing can’t turn to the company for legal protection, according to Microsoft’s blog post.

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